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Vernal and Nevada Falls via the Mist Trail

MODERATE 297 reviews
#1 of 129 trails in

Vernal and Nevada Falls via the Mist Trail is a 6.7 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Yosemite National Park, CA that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible from April until November.

6.7 miles 2162 feet Loop

kid friendly



nature trips






wild flowers




no dogs

Hike to two breath-taking waterfalls along Yosemite Valley's most popular hiking trails. If you only have time for one hike while in Yosemite look no further: the Mist Trail is the hike for you. It is no wonder why this trail is one of the most popular trails in Yosemite Valley. You will hike so close to 2 massive waterfalls that it will be very difficult to avoid the mist from the falls. The best time to hike this trail is in Spring or early Summer, while the snow runoff is high and the falls are full of water. The Mist Trail starts at Happy Isles trailhead (YARTS shuttle stop #16, and within walking distance of Curry Village and parking lot). After a brief stroll along the river, you climb a pretty steep initial accent until you reach the footbridge, which offers the first glimpse of Vernal Fall in the distance (and a water-fountain and restrooms). You will then continue up to Vernal Fall, past Emerald Pool, and alongside Nevada Fall until you reach the high-point for this hike. Then take the alternate route down along the John Muir Trail to see views of Nevada Fall and Liberty Cap in the distance before meeting back up with the Mist Trail near the footbridge. The route back is slightly longer, but offers a change of scenery and is easier on the knees. Before hopping back on the YARTS shuttle, treat yourself to some ice cream or a refreshing drink at the small stand, or head over to Curry Village for a larger variety of choices.

7 minutes ago

Beautiful! Very unique trail to hike up rock stairs along the side of the river and the falls.

1 day ago

7 days ago

Beautiful hike and just amazing views. The waterfalls were breathless.

8 days ago

The Mist Trail is spectacular, as it climbs up almost vertically next to the Vernal Falls. Only reason I am not giving it 5 stars is that it gets really crowded on peak season days.

9 days ago

11 days ago

Very surprised to see some people don't rate this hike 5 stars. Definitely one of the most awesome hikes around. I've done it when the water flow was low and when the river was really high. Much more difficult in the heavy mist when the water is high. The only downside for sure is the amount of people on the trail. Patience Grasshopper..... I've done it a few times and hope to do it again...

12 days ago

This is definitely on the hard end of intermediate. It's doable (it was one of my first hikes) and definitely totally worth it for the absolutely one of a kind views at the top of the falls. It is 100% uphill to the top, and there's a pretty strenuous stair portion just before reaching the top. Bring plenty of water, be prepared to get a little wet, and get ready for a leg workout!

13 days ago

16 days ago

great. baby bear cubs at the top of the waterfall... needed to head back

19 days ago

20 days ago

Moderate trail that takes you to fantastic views of the falls! Definitely leave early in the morning and beat all the crowds that head up around noon!

25 days ago

Great hike with breathe taking views. It's almost all up hill and a little strenuous but so worth it. There is shade and plenty of spots to rest if you need to. There are a lot of people on the trail in the afternoon, it's best to start early. There is a restroom at the bridge and a water fountain if you need to refill.

27 days ago

This is a beautiful hike with rewarding views almost the whole way up and I would definitely recommend it. It's all uphill with plenty of stairs once you get close to the falls. At the top of Vernal falls, there's a lake called Emerald Lake, with a natural rock slide that everyone was sliding down. It was freezing but worth the experience and cool down after such a great hike! I gave this hike 4 stars instead of 5 because, while it is so beautiful, it's incredibly crowded and that sort of took away a little bit of the specialness to me. Still a great hike!

27 days ago

Definitely steep at parts, but beautiful views and worth the challenge. Trail does get crowded though so get out there early!

28 days ago

You DO NOT wanna do these stairs with a heavy pack... Did it with 50lbs+ and it was brutal.

1 month ago

This trail is mostly uphill. It is not an easy trail. Not suitable for children, dog, or elderly people. Take a LOT of water and snacks. You must wear hiking shoes to not slip. Go early in the morning because this trail gets packed!

1 month ago

I think it should be rated higher degree of difficulty to properly warn folks the incline and steps are not for the weekend warrior. What goes up must come down ! Emerald pool at top is a gem if you want to sneak a swim!

1 month ago

ate lunch with a squirrel, the way down the is awesome

1 month ago

Did this hike as my first official hike and it was well worth every step! Amazing views amazing scenery a bit challenging for a first timer but again it was well worth it!

1 month ago

Beautiful! Watch out for hungry squirrels